Michael Budd, a mobile operations manager on Network Rail Wessex route, attended the Samaritans' suicide prevention training in 2012 and felt it gave him a better understanding of how mental illness can bring someone to the point of considering suicide. This year, the training helped him save a life on the railway.
“I was first made aware of a man on the tracks when I received a call from control. Once I had confirmed everything was safe, I approached him and introduced myself.
“I got him to tell me his name; he looked very dishevelled and agitated and was talking to himself. He said he was hearing voices that were telling him to kill himself and he seemed very distressed.
Just letting him talk was the right thing to do.
“We chatted and I reassured him I was there to help. I put my arm on his shoulder and guided him to a safe place on the platform where the police were waiting with an ambulance. Before he left in the ambulance, he thanked me for my help.
“The Managing Suicidal Contacts course helped me to stay calm and listen, which also helped me calm the man down.
“I made sure not to say things like, ‘I know how you feel,’ or, ‘It will be alright’. Just letting him talk was the right thing to do, and this was something I took away from my Samaritans course a few years ago.”